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Heliotrope, Cherry Pie
Scientific Name: Heliotropium arborescens L.
Synonym: Heliotropium peruvianum
Family: Boraginaceae
Heliotrope, Cherry Pie (Heliotropium  arborescens) Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 8-24 or summer annual
USDA: 9-11

Heat Tolerance: Difficult to keep alive in summer in Phoenix, morning sun only

Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun

Origin: Peruvian Andes

Growth Habits: Perennial shrub often grown as tender annual, up to 4 feet tall (1.2 m), 5 feet spread (1.5 m), much smaller as annual 1-2 feet spred (30-60 cm)

Watering Needs: Moderate water, good drainage, added organic matter

Propagation: Seeds, cuttings in summer


When grown as an annual, Heliotropes are good flower bed and border plants. They also do fine and container. Plant them next to walkways, doors and windows where their fragrance will be enjoyed.

All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Heliotropium arborescens in Curtis Botanical Magazine

Cultural Practices:
Seeds might take several weeks to germinate. In Phoenix, they can be started in early fall, and the seedlings set in place in early March. If you can find plants in late summer, they have more chance to do fine the following summer if they have had all the winter to grow roots. In colder climates, set the plants out 3 weeks after the last frost date, so that the ground has had a chance to warm up. Set the plants 12 inches apart (30 cm). Pinching the tips in early summer promote a more bushy growth and flowers.

In colder climates, the plants can be overwintered inside. To do that, dig the heliotropes up before they are damaged by the frost. Cut all the branches back by at least half their length, plant them in a container that you will put in a plastic bag until the plants have recovered (about a month). Open the bag gradually over the course of a week or two. Keep the pot in a sunny place.

Blooming Habits:
The heliotrope has clusters of 0.25 inches (6 mm) fragrant flowers with cherry pie or vanilla scent, from late spring to autumn.

Fruiting Habits:


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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

1998-2005 Philippe Faucon, All Rights Reserved.